7 amazing citizen science apps

You’re out in the woods and a bird flies by. Not sure what is it? There’s an app for that.

Today’s smartphones make ideal field guides. Photograph a butterfly sipping nectar. Video a slow-moving turtle. Record a birdsong. Then look it up, find a match, and enter your geotagged observations in a virtual field book.

These virtual field guides often support citizen science. You just share what you see. Scientists, researchers and conservationists use the crowdsourced data to look at climate change, track migration and monitor species at risk and sensitive ecosystems.

Here are a few popular apps:

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A changing landscape: how nature influences the way our parks look

When campers return to their favorite campsites this year, they may be greeted with a different scene than they remember.

That favorite tree that used to shade your campsite and provide a relaxing location to sit and read a book? Now gone, replaced by a stump with small plants growing around the base.

The loss of trees from storm damage, fire or other catastrophes provides an opportunity for a remarkable ecological process to ensue – forest succession.

With change comes opportunity…

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Restoring nature’s balance in Polar Bear Provincial Park

For Day 4 of Earth Week 2016, we want to share an amazing success story:

Ever heard of Polar Bear Provincial Park?

Few Ontarians will ever visit the 2.3 million hectares of protected land along Ontario’s only salt water coast. The park is home to the magnificent polar bear, as well as caribou, seals and the beluga whale.

Between 2011 and 2016, Polar Bear Provincial Park underwent the largest Environmental Remediation Project ever to be completed inside a protected area!

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Ecopassages help wildlife cross roads safely

With Earth Day fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to talk about how our ecopassages are helping protect Ontario’s wildlife!

You may have heard of wilderness corridors built for wildlife to cross over or under the TransCanada Highway. Ecopassages are mini versions of these, like a critter-sized subway tunnel passing under the road.

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Our 2016 parks pass is more than just a pretty flower

summer passNoticed the dainty purple flower adorning the 2016 summer pass for Ontario Parks?

It may surprise you to learn that when Ontario Parks staff discovers that flower in a park, they often rip it out by the roots.

That’s because spotted knapweed is…

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Don’t feed the foxes

Today, we want to share an important message about how we can keep our foxes (and other wild creatures) safe.

Foxes are extremely intelligent, able to multitask and quickly clue in to patterns. They remember where they found food, and will return to that spot to search for more.

But sometimes, foxes are too clever for their own good.

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The turtle who swam off with my wedding ring

In today’s post, Brad Steinberg, our Natural Heritage Education & Learning Coordinator, shares the story of how he (kinda) proposed to a Blanding’s turtle.

It was September 30, the last day of trout season in Algonquin Provincial Park. I was trudging out a portage with a canoe over my  head when I saw it: a big, beautiful Blanding’s turtle, perched right on the edge of the old roadway.

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Don’t deck the Scots pine for Christmas

If you’ve visited Presqu’ile Provincial Park lately, you’ve probably spotted staff and volunteers cutting down happy pine trees (during the Christmas season!) and feeding them (*GASP*) into the woodchipper.

You might even have pulled over to ask, in a little Cindy-Lou Who voice: Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?

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